The Incredible Shrinking Me

Over Easter, we went to Gail’s dad’s place for a couple of days and my parents’ place for a couple of days. As always, there was lots of food at both places, and being Easter, there was also lots of chocolate. I ate like a pig the whole weekend, and felt like crap on the drive back home. Part of it was physical (I just ate too much), but mostly I was just disgusted with myself. I told Gail when we got home that I was going to start doing Weight Watchers with her – she’s been doing it for a couple of years. I haven’t officially joined WW, and I’m not going to the meetings or anything (Gail does), I’m just keeping track of what I eat.

The program is fairly simple – every item of food has a number of points associated with it, based on the amount of fiber, calories, and fat in the item. For example, an apple is 1 point, vegetables are generally 0 points (i.e. you can eat as much as you want, within reason), two slices of bread are about 3 points, a Coke is 3 points (though Diet Coke is 0), a cup of milk is 2 points, and a Big Mac at McDonald’s is 11 points. You write down everything you eat every day, and count up the number of points for each thing. For my weight, I get 24 points per day, plus you also have 35 “flex points” that you can use per week – you can either split them up (i.e. give yourself an extra 5 points per day), or use them all in one day, or some combination. Here’s an average day’s food for me before I started doing this:

Two English muffins with peanut butter (at least 8 points)
Cup of apple juice (3 points)
Michelena’s entree or leftovers (anywhere from 8-13 points)
Yogurt (1 point)
Granola bar (3 points)
Anywhere between 8 and 15 points
Ice cream (3-5 points)

So we’re looking at somewhere between 38 and 45 points per day. Sometimes we’d try to be healthy and serve raw veggies with dinner, but I’d always take a big dollop of some kind of dip – the veggies are 0 points, but some dips are 4 points per tablespoon. Since I’ve been watching what I eat, I’ve made the following types of changes:

  • bowl of cereal instead of english muffins (saved 3 points)
  • no juice (saved 3)
  • Lean Cuisine entrees or soup or smaller portion of leftovers (saved 3-12)
  • an apple instead of a granola bar (saved 2)
  • a smaller dinner (saved 2-6)
  • no ice cream (save 3-5)

Some days I have enough points left over to have the ice cream after dinner, or a snack later on, and I’ve only max’ed out my flex points once – most weeks I barely touch them. I’ve been hungry a lot more lately, but I figure that’s a small price to pay to look and feel better.

The program isn’t designed for rapid weight loss, but I lost about 7 pounds in the first 4 weeks. We went to Ottawa last weekend, and I didn’t count any points while there, so I went up a pound last week. But it’s summer, so I’ll be getting lots of excercise with baseball and hikes and stuff – Gail and I bought bikes recently, so we’ll hopefully get out biking now and again too. I’m still working out two or three days a week, so combined with the exercise and better eating, I’m hoping to be in great shape by the end of the summer.

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